President Biden traveled to Belleville, Michigan to join UAW members picketing at GM’s Willow Run Redistribution Center. While the facility only employs around 200 people, the event was designed to send a message to both automakers and union members.
Speaking outside the facility, Biden said “The fact of the matter is that you guys, the UAW, you saved the automobile industry back in 2008 and before.” While some would argue taxpayers bailed them out, Biden noted union members made a “lot of sacrifices” and “gave up a lot.”
Biden went on to say Ford, GM, and Stellantis are “doing incredibly well,” so union members should be “doing incredibly well too.” The president added, “you deserve the significant raise you need and other benefits. Let’s get back what we lost, okay?”
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Towards the end of the event, Biden said “Wall Street didn’t build the country. The middle class built the country, and unions built the middle class.” He also tried to walk a fine line as he was asked “Should the UAW get a 40 percent increase?” His response wasn’t as direct as it seemed as he said, “Yes, I think they should be able to bargain for that.”
During his remarks, UAW President Shawn Fain decryed what he called “corporate greed.” He went on to praise Biden and say “This is a historic moment – the first time in our country’s history that a sitting USA president has came out and stood on the picket line.”
The visit comes a day before former President Donald Trump speaks at an automotive supplier in nearby Clinton Township. However, he didn’t waste any time attacking Biden as his campaign released a statement saying the visit was “nothing more than a PR stunt.”